Family Fun in Faro: Step Back in Time at the Castle of Silves |
Every parent knows what a challenge it could be finding a holiday spot to appeal to both them and their children. Perhaps this summer you may spare yourself the arduous searching and visit the town of Faro on the Portuguese coast. There are a wide range of child-friendly attractions in Faro for families, from excellent beaches to bizarre buildings which will enthral your little ones. One of them is Silves Castle – a mediaeval castle easily capturing the imagination of its youngest and oldest visitors alike.
Perched on top of a hill overlooking the town of Silves near Faro, Silves Castle looks utterly prepossessing. It is almost a hair-raising sight at night, when it is lit up by lamplights.
The castle is believed to have been built in the eighth century by the Moors; in the centuries to follow it would be claimed by both Christian and Muslim troops. In the twelfth century the castle was besieged and taken by King Sancho I of Portugal, whose statue today sternly overlooks visitors as they enter the castle, but it didn't fall into Christian hands once and for all until the thirteenth century under Alfonso III. Today Silves Castle is one of the best preserved mediaeval castles in Portugal and bears the title of National Monument.
The castle’s tall walls enclose an area the size of two football fields which used to be inhabited by important historic and administrative figures. A number of imposing towers flank the place, subtly reminding tourists of a time when other visitors would have been subjected to strict and possibly heavily armed scrutiny from up there. Visitors curious about how such a colossal edifice used to be besieged and defended should visit its Archaeological Museum.
One of the most fascinating features of the castle is its water supply system. The larger of the two cisterns could provide water for over a thousand people at a time and was still in use in the 1990s.
The castle's high position allows you to take in breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys. To admire them visitors climb the walls through specially installed staircases inside the castle's keep.
Silves Mediaeval Fair
The best time to visit Silves Castle with your children is during the Silves Mediaeval Fair which takes place over ten days in August. During the festival the castle fills with mediaeval merchants selling exotic goods, a wide variety of captivating dramatic performances and over 100,000 pilgrims in period costumes from all over the world.
If you've set your sights on the Mediaeval Fair, you'll be well advised to start planning your visit well in advance. Faro for families offers a range of comfortable accommodation options which may get booked up pretty quickly as the festival draws near.
How to Get There
It only takes two and a half hours to fly to Faro. For families the easiest way to get from the airport to your accommodation is to pre-book the private transfer services of Shuttle Direct. They will provide you and your family with a further enjoyable, comfortable and budget-sparing fifteen-minute journey to your accommodation in the town centre.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for ideas on what to do in Faro for families, Lukas and his colleagues can give you some excellent tips as well as get you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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